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Consumers To Pay For State Lawmakersâ Decision

08.06.2014 -

Insurance Rates Worst in Health Law Holdout States

Republicans were quick to pounce Monday on Florida’s announcement that residents buying health insurance on the individual market for next year will face a 13.2 percent average increase in monthly premiums — one of the steepest rate hikes announced for any state. “Obamacare is a bad law that just seems to be getting worse,” said Florida Gov. Rick Scott, a Republican who is running for re-election.

But consumer advocates and Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., the state’s former insurance commissioner, blame the increases on Florida lawmakers’  decision last year to suspend the state’s authority to negotiate and approve premiums on policies sold to people who buy insurance themselves instead of getting it through an employer.

The Republican-controlled Florida legislature voted to cancel that authority until 2016 because it did not want to have any involvement with insurance plans sold through the Affordable Care Act, saying that job should be done by the Obama administration. The federal government has authority to review but not change insurance rates.

Most health experts agree that state regulation of insurance rates helps hold down premiums. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, about two dozen states empower regulators to approve or disapprove insurance premium changes, although the power varies widely.

A report by the Kaiser Family Foundation in 2012 found that one out of every five insurer’s requests for higher rates submitted to states in 2011 resulted in a lower rate increase or no increase at all. On average, approved rate increases were 1.4 percentage points lower than what insurers initially requested, a reduction of about one-fifth.

For instance, state rate review led to lower rates being approved in Oregon on Friday.

 

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http://capsules.kaiserhealthnews.org/index.php/2014/08/advocates-say-florida-consumers-to-pay-for-state-lawmakers-decision/?utm_campaign=KHN%3A+Daily+Health+Policy+Report&utm_source=hs_email&utm_medium=email&utm_content=13707051&_hsenc=p2ANqtz-8QdZKhbDfXo